Mind & Life
Amishi Jha - Attention, Mind Wandering, and Stress

Amishi Jha - Attention, Mind Wandering, and Stress

June 24, 2020

In this episode, Wendy speaks with cognitive and contemplative neuroscientist Amishi Jha about using mindfulness to train attention, and its usefulness particularly in high-stress situations. They cover many topics, including:

  • her own experience of high stress and how that brought her to contemplative practice;
  • her research on how mindfulness can train attention and working memory;
  • the relationship between attention and stress;
  • bringing mindfulness to military populations;
  • the pros and cons of a wandering mind;
  • mindfulness during COVID;
  • the state of contemplative science, and current issues around gender and racial diversity.

Full show notes and resources

john powell - Othering and Belonging

john powell - Othering and Belonging

June 10, 2020

In this episode, Wendy speaks with law professor and civil rights expert john a. powell about his work at the intersection of social justice and spirituality. This conversation was recorded during the 2019 Summer Research Institute. They discuss a wide range of topics, including:

  • the problem of othering;
  • the roots of whiteness;
  • recent changes in the world and how we react to them;
  • how our minds create mental schemas;
  • implicit bias and how to change it;
  • the importance of narrative and bridging stories, and the role of leadership;
  • the self as a construction;
  • spirituality and interconnection;
  • the roles of science and religion in society;
  • identity politics, and more.

Full show notes and resources

Willa Miller - Meditating with the Body

Willa Miller - Meditating with the Body

May 27, 2020

Willa_Miller_sq.jpgIn this episode, Wendy speaks with meditation teacher and Buddhist scholar Willa Miller about her work, and how the body is relevant in meditation. They cover many topics, including:

  • the roots of her interest in Buddhism and early experiences of Buddhism in action;
  • a research study about meditation and real-world compassionate behavior in which she was involved and various interpretations of the results;
  • how qualities like curiosity and compassion that we develop toward our own mental states in meditation might transfer to others;
  • the most relevant outcomes for contemplative scientists to be measuring;
  • role of the body in contemplative practice;
  • three natural metaphors for what she calls "somatic mindfulness" practice;
  • the role of letting go, and the importance of trust and how to foster it;
  • and implications of these ideas for how we view ourselves, and our interconnection with others and the world around us.

Full show notes and resources

Anil Seth - How Our Minds Predict Our Reality

Anil Seth - How Our Minds Predict Our Reality

May 13, 2020

 

AnilSeth_sq.jpgIn this episode, Wendy speaks with cognitive scientist Anil Seth about his work on consciousness and the mind. They discuss:

  • the idea of the brain as a prediction machine;
  • how perception is a kind of "controlled" hallucination;
  • the self as a construction and implications for psychiatric disorders;
  • connections between this view of the mind and Buddhist ideas;
  • how these views might inform our subjective experience;
  • the important role of the body in perception;
  • the connection between life and mind (and Anil's views on panpsychism);
  • emotions as prediction and interoception;
  • the question of free will;
  • communicating science to a public audience, and other topics.

Full show notes and resources

Thupten Jinpa - Cultivating Compassion

Thupten Jinpa - Cultivating Compassion

April 29, 2020

Jinpa2.jpgIn this inaugural episode, Wendy speaks with Buddhist scholar, author, and longtime translator for the Dalai Lama, Thupten Jinpa. Their conversation covers many topics, including:

  • how he met and started working with the Dalai Lama, and insights from 35 years of translating for him;
  • the relationship of language and mind;
  • how to deal with self-consciousness;
  • the dialogue between Buddhism and science;
  • first- and third-person ways of investigating the mind that are central to the science of meditation;
  • sources of valid evidence and knowledge;
  • the mind as more than the brain;
  • the relevance of compassion for well-being and a program he developed to cultivate it;
  • the value of mental training in the time of COVID, and other topics.

Full show notes and resources

Mind & Life Trailer

Mind & Life Trailer

March 25, 2020

podcast_headshot_sq_bw2_sm.jpgWe're looking forward bringing you conversations with leading experts about mind, meditation, and more. Hear what we're about, and subscribe today so you don't miss an episode.

Read more about the show in this interview with host Wendy Hasenkamp.